The Juice: Pirates fall in 10 on Chase Headley homer, Nationals extend lead on Braves as Stephen Strasburg’s innings grow

David Brown

The Juice is back for its fifth season of fun! Stop by each weekday for an ample serving of news from the action, plus great photos, stats and video highlights.

McCutchen giveth, McCutchen taketh away: An inning after Andrew McCutchen saved the Pittsburgh Pirates with a breathtaking running catch, his non-relation Daniel McCutchen hung a change-up to San Diego's Chase Headley, who crushed it deep into the right-field grandstand at Petco Park for a two-run home run and a 7-5 victory Tuesday night. Perhaps walking Headley to set up a double play against Carlos Quentin would have been the better play for the Bucs, who fell 7 1/2 games behind the Reds in the NL Central. Overall, it was an excruciating experience for the Pirates, who had tied the score with two outs in the ninth on a two-run homer by Garrett Jones. His heroics made up for shaky play and strange decisions by manager Clint Hurdle.

145 1/3: That's how many innings Stephen Strasburg has accumulated this season after a 10-strikeout performance that helped the Washington Nationals beat the Braves 4-1 and extend D.C.'s lead in the NL East to seven games. How much is left for Strasburg, who reportedly will be shut down well before he reaches 200 innings as part of his recovery from Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery in 2010?

Perfectly fine follow-up: In front of nearly 40,000 fans at Safeco Field, in his first start since throwing a perfect game, Seattle's Felix Hernandez did not quite go all Johnny Vander Meer (plus) on the Cleveland Indians. He was dominant, as he often is, allowing a run and seven hits over 7 2/3 innings in a 5-1 victory. From the Associated Press:

Seattle has won 14 of 15 at home and Hernandez improved to 8-0 with a 1.53 ERA over his last 13 starts. He left to a long ovation with two outs in the eighth after throwing 105 pitches. It was the final moment in a night where nearly every move Hernandez made was greeted by noise.

Dueling mound men: Kansas City's Luke Hochevar and Tampa Bay's David Price matched zeroes for eight innings before the Royals broke through for an unearned run in the 10th on a two-out RBI single blooped by Eric Hosmer. And that was it: Royals win 1-0. Hochevar, the top overall pick of the 2006 draft, allowed one hit and struck out 10 in what had to be the best performance of his career. Price, the top pick in '07, allowed three hits and struck out eight.

Great for Nate: Nate McLouth keyed an Orioles rally for the second time in three days, hitting a two-run home run in a 5-3 victory against the Rangers. Chris Tillman turned in a solid start for the Orioles, who closed within five games of the first-place Yankees, who fell again at Chicago.

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Quote of the Day:

''It's funny. Nobody talks to me personally about it. Obviously, I can either scour the Internet or watch all the stuff being said on TV or I can just keep pitching and watch the Golf Channel, I guess." — Strasburg, on his innings limit.

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Photo of the Day: And it was all yellow.

The Mariners gave away 34,000 yellow T-shirts saying "King of Perfection" (along with yellow "K" cards) to honor Felix Herandez's perfect game.

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Three Facts for the Water Cooler:

• Per the AP: CC Sabathia threw 38 pitches in a bullpen session and the Yankees plan on him returning to the starting rotation Friday. He has been sidelined with a sore elbow.

• Matt Kemp stopped an 0-for-21 slide with a single in the ninth, but the Giants beat the Dodgers anyway, 4-1 behind Tim Lincecum and four relievers.

• Zack Cozart took Jonathan Papelbon deep for a homer on the first pitch in the ninth, sending the Reds to a 5-4 victory at Philadelphia on Hunter Pence Bobblehead Night. Pence was traded to San Francisco at the non-waiver deadline.

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